Montana State University

New book maps out path to wildlife-friendly highways

August 9, 2010 -- MSU News Service


A new book titled, "Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity" was co-edited by MSU faculty members. (Photo courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN -- Two Montana State University researchers co-edited a new book that deals one of the biggest threats facing wildlife populations -- roads.

Anthony P. Clevenger and Marcel P. Huijser of MSU's Western Transportation Institute helped edit "Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity" with co-authors Jon Beckmann and Jodi Hilty of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The book, published by Island Press, details the latest developments in road ecology and provides a toolbox for individuals and organizations engaged in reducing road-wildlife impacts.

Roads cover more than one percent of the United States and have a major effect on wildlife, according to the co-authors. Vehicles and animals collide on roads. Roads decrease access to quality habitat and resources, fragment populations into smaller and more vulnerable populations, and increase exposure to humans and human activity.

"From salamanders to salmon to grizzlies, the importance of habitat connectivity for wildlife cannot be overstated," Beckmann said. "How we design our highways is of critical importance for countless species."

The book explains factors involved in designing roads, Beckmann said. It also highlights collaborations to reduce the impacts of highways on wildlife. It incorporates landmark case studies to show how wildlife crossing structures, barrier design, fish culverts and advances in highway planning can be incorporated into infrastructure projects.

The book is available now from Island Press at http://islandpress.org/ and Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/

For more information about the road ecology program at MSU, visit http://www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/research/roadecology

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu